I find it kind of insane that you consider disagreement to be a hamper to free speech; if it wasn't for your personal bashing of the current tsc model (I'm using bashing only because you used it, don't get upset over my word choice, it's just for parallel), your opinion wouldn't be out there. As such, it's hardly unfortunate for someone to rebut your argument; that is effectively what you are doing to the main TSC staff. This healthy disagreement is just that (healthy), and I think you should encourage thoughtful responses to your arguments.
You think that the leaderboards should be topped by those with skill; that's an understandable opinion. I agree with you entirely. Where we seem to disagree is the definition of skill. Where you think skill is an ability to play the predefined route at its best optimization, I think it is equally skillfull to play a different route (that happens to be faster) as optimizedly as possible. An important point that needs to be made is there is -always- going to be someone who has a new, better trick than someone else. Tricks shouldn't be banned. I'm sure you agree with this, Alondite. But the flat, honest truth is that people are going to spend time discovering new tricks. People get that -slightly- faster time because they spent the time searching for something different to do than the previous top strategy. It is the way competition works. It takes more than just perfect finger tapping; it takes innovation. What about shortcuts? The person who spends the time looking extensively for a single lucky spindash jump to find a shortcut -only- gets their record because they discovered something a different player didn't know about. This person might -technically- be a less skillful player than the people he or she beats with the shortcut, but that doesn't mean we should ban shortcuts. The essence of TSC is its use of innovation, combined with perfect corner cuts and jumps, to achieve unbelievable sonic play.
" Why bother competing if you're going to have to settle for 40th (random placement) at best because you don't know, and don't have the time to find the glitches required to be competitive. "
This point has two distinct parts that I will tackle separately. First, the low place on a leaderboard as a result of ignorance.
Though I see your basic point, that logic can also be applied to many other parts of competition. Many people have to settle for fourtieth because they don't know an optimal route through a level; should optimal routes be banned? Many people settle for -way worse- than fourtieth in green hill act 1 because they don't know that jumping from the top of a hill and rolling, for some unintuitive reason, increases speed.
Take the example of a player who plays a hypothetical (but not unrealistic) 2d sonic game. This player practices this level over and over. The level progresses as a fairly straight path, until it reaches a spring next to a wall. Once taking the spring, the player is shot up to a complicated top path that is extremely hard to optimize. After the top path, the level reverts to the same fairly easy pattern until it reaches the end. One, however, if in the know of its existence, can opt to go through a breakable wall rather than take a spring. This would make the player save tons of time. Our hypothetical player, however, does not know about this breakable wall. The player spends days and days perfecting the top route of the level, getting it down to nearly tas-standard of play. The player is definitely extremely skillful. However, he does not get one of the top times on the chart. Several, more unskilled players have beaten him because they knew of the breakable wall. Do we ban the use of the breakable wall, just because a skilled player may not be knowledgable of it? Do you see the problem in using the ignorant as our basis for legality?
This problem extends beyond hidden routes. A skilled player may not know the location of a ring box, and thus get an inferior ring attack. A speedrunner might not know that 6 revs is the maximum spindash and thus waste time by over-spindashing. Competition -is- the combination of knowing more, and executing better. That is effectively a definition.
What makes it worse to find a glitch than an equally difficult to find shortcut that doesn't glitch the level?
The second part of that argument, or the concept that the leaderboards should be dominated by the skilled, not those with time to find glitches:
High level competition -requires- time. It is a silly idea to suggest that the charts shouldn't be dominated by those who invest time. You even agree that is silly. As I quote directly from you, " I for one, worked hard, and practiced for weeks to get that time. " You are proud to be atop the eh1 charts, and believe you deserve it because you invested weeks into that level. I am curious why you think investing weeks in the discovery of how to do a perfect jump is better than investing weeks in discovering how to bypass a certain area of the level. Your idea that a "skillfull" player deserves to be higher in a chart if he doesn't have the time to find a glitch is -bogus-. Not only did that skillfull player acquire his skill from time spent and time alone (if you disagree with me on this, I would like to see evidence of someone who is good with no practice), but he should have to invest time to get a record too. Even still, a skillfull player should have to learn the niches of a level, not just get a free pass to the top because he can spindash the fastest. There's a reason we have individual level competitions; we measure people on their mastery of individual levels, not sonic's controls as a whole.
You stated that it is ridiculous to say "one must skillfully get out of bounds and skillfully navigate", and argue that competitive value is destroyed when one glitches. I present to you the following evidence from sa2, showing that levels even take extreme skill and optimization when glitched:http://www.soniccenter.org/rankings/sonic_adventure_2_b/times/aquatic_mine/mission_5
(glitch times range by 25 seconds)http://www.soniccenter.org/rankings/sonic_adventure_2_b/times/cannons_core/mission_1
(with two glitches that permanently stop time, and an oob shortcut as knuckles, this level is glitched beyond belief. Times that are confirmed to use glitches range from 1:15 to 3:09, with likely glitch times well past that)http://www.soniccenter.org/rankings/sonic_adventure_2_b/times/cosmic_wall/mission_1
(this one has an oob, long level skip. goes to 37 second range)http://www.soniccenter.org/rankings/sonic_adventure_2_b/times/dry_lagoon/mission_3
(the record is 12 seconds, and the glitch range is 6 seconds. That is a huge range for such a short level. Also, the record was hotly competed over (using fastest times to reach a wall, and best manipulation out of bounds) for a very long time)
There is -no way- that glitches destroyed the competition on those levels. The competitive value of some (see cc1 and dl3) skyrocketed with the glitches.
You also say, " It's just another route through a level that may initially require some practice, but in the end, it just cuts the level down and reduces the overall level of skill required to complete the level with a top time."
You say that finding a shorter route through a level reduces the level of skill required, and people shouldn't be given a record just because they took a faster route?
By that logic, should someone who -intentionally- takes a slower, non-glitch route through a level beat someone who takes a shorter route, because the person who took the slower route had more to do and thus more skill was required? That's a ridiculous thing to do, and the same applies for new routes discovered through glitches.
Even if one was to decide banning glitches was an acceptable way to deal with the problem, the trouble comes in defining a "glitch". What is a glitch? Is it an unintended consequence of an oversight in game mechanics? Would this make super-bounce glides by knuckles glitches? Should they be banned? The technique is harmless; bounce on an enemy, and glide, and you get super height for super shortcuts. But if someone doesn't know the technique (which is certainly a programming oversight), they are at a disadvantage. How about spindash jumps? I don't think the game producers of Sonic Adventure 2 intended that we take super shortcuts by spindashing, then jumping. In fact, I'm sure of it. Why else would they remove the spindash jump from later games?
Going back to GH1, how about the loopjumping mechanic. It clearly wasn't intended; if the programmers intended to reach super speed through jumping off the top of a loop, players wouldn't die at the bottom of gh1 after performing the tehcnique. Should this strategy be banned as well?
Would glitches only be about out of bounds glitches? What about glitches that push you through a wall, but stay in bounds? Sonic 3 and Knuckles zips -certainly- require skill, there's a reason only the s3&k elite can pull them off. But since they are glitches most are unaware of, they are considered unfair by your standards.
Another point I'd like to bring up is people aren't -required- to stay uninformed on major walk through walls glitches. Your example of a player failing to compete well because of ignorance can be circumvented through videos. Almost every major glitch in the big games has been caught on video. As such, it is extremely easy to educate the new players (especially skilled ones) and give them the resources to perform the glitch themselves. They might still object on moral grounds; I acknowledge that's what you're doing. Your entire problem of players not doing well because of lack of knowledge ceases to exist, however. What we have left are those who refuse to glitch because they feel unnatural.
That is acceptable! We don't require you use glitches, and we whole-heartedly accept the more "natural" submissions that use everything except programming errors to achieve their times (though the lack of a wall preventing a super shortcut could be seen as a programming oversight, but I digress). Feel free to submit your glitchless times, and feel free to be prideful in your ability to do well without the aid of glitches.
At TSC, however, we rank players on their ability to finish a level with the highest score, rings, or time. And if that takes a clever use of a glitch (that still boils down to skill, pretty much always), then we will accept the submission. Glitches -still- contain competitive value, and are hardly any more harmful than any other advantage a more informed player has over an uninformed one.
I don't plan to change your opinion on glitches. I intend to back up TSC's position on allowing glitches in times and answering questions you posed as to why they are allowed up. Hopefully you see my response as respectful and intelligent, but I guess I can't really help if you see it as persecution and bashing on your values. I don't want to ridicule you, just give a thoughtful response. Thanks for reading!